A baseball replay scenario

Okay, next year when the new rules are implemented, what happens on these plays:

  1. Bases loaded, nobody out. Batter hits a line drive to left center field. Runners ease off of their bases. The ball is low and the centerfielder dives for it. Umpire rules it a trapped ball. Runners on second and third score, runner from first trots into second.

The centerfielder knows he caught the ball. He throws to the third baseman and the second baseman to touch each base to record an out for the runners leaving too early. Replay confirms that it was a valid catch. Is this now a triple play?

If not, then what?
2) Same scenario, except based loaded. Same line drive. Umpire rules a catch. Runners hold their places. Centerfielder, knowing he really trapped the ball, throws home, then to third, then to second, then to first just for the hell of it because the batter trotted off of the field when he saw the out signal. Replay confirms the trap. Another triple play?

If not, then what?

Specifics haven’t been released (that I’ve seen), but I cannot imagine they’ll allow that to be a triple play. It’ll in all likelihood just be one out, bases loaded.

Also unlikely. I’d imagine they just advance all runners one base.

As a general principle, you can’t penalize players (or a team) for reacting to the umpire’s call on the field.

Scenario one: It’s one out, one run, first and second. The runner on second may get awarded third, if in the ump’s judgment he would have been able to tag up.

Scenario two: Depends on where the outfielder fielded it, and how cleanly (did he dive, for example). So, likeliest is 2 runs, runner on first, runner on either second or third (ump’s judgment).

If they want to minimize arguments, they should use ground rule double type rules about who advances to what base–no judgment, just automatic. But in either of these scenarios, the outs only “stick” in the manner they would have if the proper call had been made in the first place.

This makes the most sense. I would hope the use of replay is limited. The OP’s scenario shows the kind of problems it can create even if it solves some other ones.

How about the “neighborhood play” at second base? Is there any way this will persist in the face of a replay provision?

Fair enough. How about this:

Runner on 1st, 1 out. Same line drive to center field. Umpire rules a trap. Runner on first tries to go to third on the hit and the centerfielder’s throw goes into the dugout. Runner awarded home. Replay shows a catch. Does the runner score?

Same play. Umpire rules a catch. The runner at first has strayed too far and the center fielder tries to double him off of first. The throw gets away from the first baseman. The runner touches up and heads for second and on to third where he is thrown out. Replay shows a trapped ball. Does the out at third count?

I think that a thousand of these scenarios can come up. If by reversing a call you just place runner one base ahead or at the same place it will make a mockery of the game that actually happened on the field.

Scenario 1: No, the runner doesn’t score. The bases are set up and outs decided as if the play had been called properly, with the provision that no runner is penalized for relying on the umps real-time call. So, here, likeliest is runner goes back to first, no run, two outs.

Scenario 2: No. It’s first and second, same number of outs (or maybe first and third).

If by “mockery,” you mean “erases the play you just witnessed,” yeah, I guess it would.

That’s a pretty shortsighted attitude. Besides, it happens right now with umps reversing the calls on the field. Runners can be awarded bases at the umps discretion when calls are wrong.

I think the general principle will be that the umpires will place the runners to where they would have been had they reacted to a correct call and not the incorrect one.

Rule 9.02© (bolding mine):

“If a decision is appealed, the umpire making the decision may ask another umpire
for information before making a final decision. No umpire shall criticize, seek to
reverse or interfere with another umpire’s decision unless asked to do so by the
umpire making it. If the umpires consult after a play and change a call that had been
made, then they have the authority to take all steps that they may deem necessary, in
their discretion, to eliminate the results and consequences of the earlier call that they
are reversing, including placing runners where they think those runners would have
been after the play, had the ultimate call been made as the initial call
, disregarding
interference or obstruction that may have occurred on the play; failures of runners to
tag up based upon the initial call on the field; runners passing other runners or missing
bases; etc., all in the discretion of the umpires. No player, manager or coach
shall be permitted to argue the exercise of the umpires’ discretion in resolving the
play and any person so arguing shall be subject to ejection.”

Telemark and BobLibDem are right. The umpires have discretion to make some sort of “compromise” that’s not too unfair to either team in situations like this.

On my phone so I don’t have a link but a similar situation happened in game 4 of the 1980 NLCS between Phillies and Astros. A compromise was reached that everyone hated equally.

The OP scenario is the problem with what I call “Fluid” plays. Because what happens after umpires make a call is dependent on that ruling.

Replay works in football because each down is a play by itself. That is why when a player fumbles the ball when close to being “down” the referees are instructed to rule it a fumble rather than blow the whistle, because the whistle cannot be “unblown”.

That’s a great question. If the fielder is required to touch second while he has the ball there are going to be more injuries. If not then what is “close enough” to pass replay muster?

My guess is that they will exempt that from replay consideration and allow the umpire’s “close enough” ruling to stand.

Is there any “official” guidance that the umps use on this play now?

More information on the 1980 NLCS call. That was a great 5 game series where the last 4 games all went to extra innings.

In game 4 the Phillies had 2 men on base and had the runners moving when Gary Maddox hit a ball right at the feet of the pitcher. The pitcher, who may or may not have caught the ball in the air, threw to first base. Initially Maddox was called out at first and the runners advanced to second and third. Then the first baseman threw the ball to second base and the umpires briefly conferred before calling it a triple play.

A full 20 minutes of debate took place and the NL president was even drawn into the discussion at one point.

Eventually they decided the Batter and the runner who started at first were out, but the runner who started at second and advanced to third was instructed to return to second base.

Houston immediately protested the game but it’s hard to have your protest upheld when the league president was involved in the decision.

My guess is that even if these types of calls are reviewable, they will probably go unchallenged for the most part, since it works both ways. Both teams benefit from it at several points during the game, and it reduces the liklihood of injury in some cases.

Plays like Drew’s and Kozma’s would be an exception and the opposing manager would and should challenge it.